by Jeanne Willis
illustrated by Tony Ross
Andersen Press 2006
In this Aussie import the animals all view the behavior of bat decidedly odd. She requests and umbrella to keep her feet dry, she refers to "the sky below her" and claims the rising waters of the nearby river could get her ears wet. Surely there is something mad about her, the other animals believe, or else how could she have so much of her world experience be wrong-way-upwards?
Finally a wise old owl is called in, straight from central casting (I think he's the same owl from the old Tootsie Pop commercials). After asking a few questions -- What does a tree look like? What does a mountain look like? -- owl suggests the others take to the trees, hang upside down and view the world from her perspective.
Hanging from their feet, with the relevant text upside down as well, they begin to understand bat and apologize for having thought she was mad.
"Oh... don't be daft!" smiled bat.
It's a simple idea, well executed, perfect for those early lessons in learning individual perspective and at contextual anticipation. Simple cartoon-y illustrations add the extra element of humor to an already fun little book.
Plus, you get to introduce kids to the word daft.
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It's week two of Blogging for a Cure at various locations around the Internet. The schedule for the second week is posted to the left and if you haven't checked it out, please do. There's a lot of very fine posting going on, a lot of great features and interviews with artists in the world of children's literature, and a great cause to boot.